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Satellite Images Compare Lake Mead’s Water Levels in 2020 and Now | The Weather Channel – Articles from The Weather Channel

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Lake Mead and the Colorado River is seen from above in August 9, 2019. (European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2 satellite via Maxar Technologies)

Satellite images show us just how much Nevada’s Lake Mead has dwindled in the past year. Photos from the European Space Agency Sentinel-2 satellite, as well as from Maxar Technologies show images from 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Clicking back and forth between the images in the slideshow above, viewers can see how the shape of the reservoir has changed as water levels have dropped.

This week, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation declared the first-ever water shortage on the Colorado River basin, including Lake Mead.

Lake Mead is now under a Tier 1 water shortage. The declaration will prompt cuts to water releases to Arizona, Nevada and Mexico in the upcoming year to preserve water in the reservoir so that it can continue to generate power and provide water for essential uses. Arizona will receive about 18% less water from the Colorado River, Nevada’s releases will be reduced by about 7% and Mexico’s will be reduced by about 5% in 2022.

The reservoir, which is the largest in the country, has reached historic lows this summer. Lake Mead is currently at only 35% of capacity, according to the Lower Colorado Water Supply Report. The Colorado River system as a whole has only 40% of its capacity due to low snowpack and a decades-long, climate change-fueled megadrought in the West.

Currently, The U.S. Drought Monitor lists 87% of the West is under severe drought conditions or worse.

Click through the slideshow above to see Lake Mead’s water level change from year to year.

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.


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